Introducing Paddle Boarding to Your Kids: 4 Tips for a Successful Trip
By. Steven Hartman
When your kids are old enough to enjoy Stand Up Paddle boarding but might be too young to head out on their own, you can have them hop up on your board with you and have a fun time on the water together.
We’re going to share some tips on how to approach Stand Up Paddle boarding so that everyone is safe and has a good time.
1) Can You Paddleboard?
If you’re been out once or twice then maybe you should hold off bringing along your child. They not only add weight to the paddleboard but will also move around as kids are apt to do. You’ll want to make sure your paddling skills are proficient to deal with this added weight and reduced stability.
2) Can Your Board Handle 2?
Now that we know you can paddle, is your board big enough for two people? A board that’s carrying more weight than it should can feel less stable than you’re used to and make it a bit uncomfortable and harder to steer. Before heading out, check to make sure that you’re aren’t going over the recommended weight capacity. If your child puts you over the weight limit, borrow or rent a bigger board.
3) Safety First!
We hear it all the time so here’s how to make sure your child is in good shape for paddle boarding.
Swimming - They’re going to go into the water so they have to know how to swim. This isn’t like being on a jet ski or in a kayak where they might go over, they more than likely will.
Life Jacket – They must wear a PFD. Since Stand Up Paddle boarding is rooted in surfing it’s not always practiced but, for your child, make sure they have a life jacket on even if they are good swimmers.
Choose a Safe Place to Start – It’s ill-advised to head out to the largest wave or raging river if you’re SUPing with a child so stick with the calmer waters found on smaller lakes and bays. When your child falls off, you want to make sure they can get back on easily.
4) Getting the Child Onboard
The best way to get your child accustomed to Stand Up Paddle boarding is to have him hop on in shallow waters and get a feel for it. When you’re ready to get on yourself, have him take a seat to help maintain stability and then get on.
When you first start out, paddle while kneeling down. This will make your child more comfortable and provide a greater amount of stability and balance to the board. After you get the feel for paddling with your child and the stability of the board, you can try standing up. Be patient, progress as you are able and as your child is comfortable.
Above all, have fun – that’s the most important (after safety, of course). Make sure you two enjoy your time together and help instill a passion for SUPing.